I had often wondered how ethnic strife came about to the point of being a thorn in the flesh of most - if not every - citizen of Nigeria. The origin of this menace, i came to know about through seeking the history of the people that were eventually assembled into forming a country. That is; studying the different ideologies and cultures attached to the different tribes before the culture clash. I call it a clash because where three different individuals with different ideologies form a group, there is bound to be a clash of interest eventually - how much more different tribes.
I can't begin to get into the history of Nigeria before and after the amalgamation but the fact is; we have been hovering around the same cycle of doom for an overly prolonged period, and need to freeze a little to consider the stagnation or progress (if any) made thus far. How long would a country plagued by nepotism, embezzlement, abuse of fundamental human rights and all forms of corruption stand? It is bad enough that Nigeria was built on a narcissistic foundation, yet life goes on as though we are oblivious of the dangers that lie ahead. Almost as though with every new leader comes a new strategy for the country to keep spiraling downwards. These diverse challenges plaguing the country aren't close to being resolved as the several tribes that make up Nigeria haven't accepted Nigeria as a unified country meaning that the "the people is not one yet". This as i always tell my friends, reminds me of "the Tower of Babel" -the bible story about God saying because the people spoke one language, worked as a unit and were determined, they could for CERTAINTY achieve whatever they set their minds to. So what did God do? He caused confusion amongst them by putting different languages into their mouths and one did not understand the other.
The older generations are great at inciting conflicts in the hearts of the younger generations with statements such as----
Do not marry or do business with Igbo because they are greedy and would choose money over you.
Do not marry or associate with Yoruba because they are two faced.
Do not marry an Urhobo person because they are lazy.
What/who gives us the right to stigmatize another tribe or any other person for that matter? (I am talking to myself as well) If all these tribes are studied severally, i can assert without flinching that traits perceived to be peculiar to a certain tribe alone can be found in other tribes. To purify our country, we need to teach our children acceptance and appreciation of individual differences. I wish the younger generation would recognize this problem and take the other route rather than the route our fathers dwelt and continue to dwell on. Appreciating the diversity in our culture, languages, ideologies etc....would ultimately lead to a point whereby when anyone in Nigeria is asked "where are you from?" Rather than say i am Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba....we would simply say... I AM NIGERIAN not in vacuity but because we finally have closure.